Posts Tagged ‘earnings’

Toppy Tuesday – GS and JPM Reap the Rewards of Market Manipulation

$9 Billion Dollars!  

That's how much Goldman Sachs (GS) took in in revenues in the second quarter.  They then used $1.25Bn of it (14%) to buy back their own stock at an average cost of $161 per share and reduced the total number of shares by 17% which allowed them to "beat" estimates by earning $4.10 per share vs $3.70 last year (10.8% more).

That's right – it's a scam!  The same scam GS advises it's client companies to do with their own stocks to APPARENTLY inflate their earnings while, in reality, earnings are fairly flat.  The same scam, incidentally, GS had the entire country of Greece do – before that whole thing collapsed and took the Global economy with it a few years ago!  

By trading heavily from inside this fishbowl, GS was able to bump up their Investment and Lending Revenues by 46%, to $2.07Bn and all those little moves allowed GS employees to take 46% of the profits in compensation – up 6% from last year at $3.92Bn, which is really cool as GS only has 32,600 employees – so that's $1.2M per employee but, somehow, I think the top 326 (0.1%) get a bit more than the other 32,274, don't you? 

You would think GS shareholders would be angry that 50% of their revenues go to compensation.  After all, a hedge fund only takes 20% of the profits as salary (and that plus 2% of AUM also covers the cost of all operations) but GS, after taking $3.92Bn, drops just $2Bn to the bottom line for their investors or, in other words, GS is like a hedge fund that takes 66% of the profits!  

Still, with a p/e of 10, that 33% bone they throw investors is enough to keep them happy but, as with everything else, consider the conditions under which GS is able to make $6Bn in salaries and profits on $9Bn in revenues – Endless Free Money from the Fed, a stock market fueled by Mergers and Buybacks using the same Free Money, massive market manipulation by Central Banks around the World – many of whom are run by former GS employees and most of whom are advised by GS.  Perhaps this is as good as it gets for them?
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Which Way Wednesday – Fed Minutes Pending

SPY 5 MINUTEFed day (again). 

Yesterday was TERRIBLE, with volume finally coming back – and it was all downhill, with 3x more declining volume than advancing.  Still, as you can see from Dave Fry's SPY chart, the fix was in and the failure to hold $196.50 during trading hours was corrected at the bell by the powers that be, forcing the Market-on-Close suckers (401K, IRA, ETFs) to pay an extra 0.2% for their fills

There's something strangely comforting about playing a rigged game like this.  I yesterday's live webcast, we were able to make a quick $150 per contract playing a very predictable bounce in the Russell Futures (you can see the Webinar Replay HERE).  

Of course that was small potoatoes compared to the trade ideas we gave you in yesterday's morning post (which you can have delivered to you every day by subscribing here) as the TZA Aug $14 calls shot up from 0.91 to $1.20 - up 32% for the day.  

The QQQ calls I mentioned were the July $97 puts and we closed those out at $2.30, up 47% in less than a full day.  

With returns like that, we could compound $1,000 into $1M in no time at all!  wink

Though they were, in fact, small positions, our entire Short-Term Portfolio jumped up 2% on the day – as it's positioned bearish to protect our much larger and still bullish ($500K) Long-Term Portfolio, which is weathering this little storm quite nicely as we wisely moved it to mainly cash when we thought the market was toppy.  

Now we anxiously anticipate earnings and the potential to bargain-hunt some more.  

As you can see from our Big Chart, the Nasdaq and Russell were saved by their 5% lines (2.5% on the RUT) but the NYSE failed their critical 11,000 line and now we are 3 of 5 bearish and that means we lean bearish until one of our 3 lagging indices gets back over their line.  

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Monday Mayhem – FBI Busts 22 Penny Stock Scammers

Operation "Penny Pincher" nabbed 22 penny stock pumpers.

As I often point out to our Members, a stock doesn't have to be a penny to be a penny stock – any stock with a market cap under $100M is generally what we're talking about – regardless of the share price.  

That's because the stock can be easily influenced by exactly the kind of action the FBI proved is RAMPANT in this industry – a single trader can, for a fee, move money into the stock and send the prices skyrocketing – then press releases are put out to whip retail investors into a frenzy and they follow with their money and, usually, get burned.  

Of course, the same thing happens with mid-cap stocks as well and even large-caps – it's just that the people manipulating those stocks are generally better at covering their tracks!  22 is the number of people the FBI caught in the short period of time an operation like this can run before word gets out that their cover people are conducting a sting.  Imagine how many other must be out there!

Obviously the markets are manipulated.  We know CEOs and their Boards worry about the stock price – the minute they begin to worry about the stock price, manipulation is sure to follow.  That's the way the system is designed.  We have a Fed who worries about the price of the market and they manipulate it too!  It's our job simply to be aware of the manipulation and take it into account in our trading and investing decisions.  

Back on June 12th, I began a series of articles pointing out that oil and gasoline prices were being manipulated into the holiday weekend.  Oil shot up to $107.68 that day and stayed between $105 and $107.50 through June but the EXTREME lack of actual demand we warned you about.  This morning, oil is below $104 and up $3,500 per contract from a short at $107.50 – a trade idea we highlighted for our readers Friday morning, June 13th

You can subscribe to Philstockworld and get interesting trade ideas

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Thankful Thursday – Janet Does it Again!

INDU WEEKLYThank you Madam Chairwoman!  

Not that Yellen said anything of substance but that won't stop her from saying it again this morning (9:30) so let the rally continue – for another day, at least.  

Yellen made an congressional appearance yesterday, where she argued the economy “needed more help”. She didn’t articulate how the Fed might help given the ongoing taper, although ZIRP would continue for a considerable time which bulls took to mean “indefinitely”.

Oddly she also suggested small cap stocks were near bubble conditions but then said she couldn’t see any bubbles.  All in all, it was the kind of obfuscating testimony that would have made Alan Greenspan proud.

RUT WEEKLYAs Dave Fry notes on his Dow chart, that index is just window dressing for the tourists, with 7 stocks (AXP, CVX, JNJ, MCD, MMM, UTX and V) accounting for ALL of the Dow's gains yesterday in this stupidly price-weighted index.   

The Russell is clearly in trouble and tested that bottom bar at 1,080 again (1,088 was the low) early in the morning and we caught the turn on the nose in our Live Member Chat room, when my 10:25 comment to our Members was:  

Wow, what a ride!  Gotta take some profits off the table on the Futures shorts – people don't like Janet's testimony but she can still pull it out with the Q&A.   /NQ at 3,500 – that shouldn't go down easy.  Actually it's a good bullish bounce play, as is 1,090 on /TF (with very tight stops).  /YM 16,300 is also a good line – go long on the laggard.  


As you can see from the intra-day SPY chart – the timing of that call could not have been better!  The Dow finished the day back at 16,500 and, at $5 per point per Futures contract, that made a $1,000 per contract on that call.  We took $1,000 and ran when the Russell hit 1,100 but then got a chance to reload for a ride to 1,110 later that day (+$2,000 per contract).  

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Friday Failure – 1,880 is a Bust!

Did you see the frightened ones? 
Did you hear the falling bombs? 
Did you ever wonder 
Why we had to run for shelter 
When the promise of a brave new world 
Unfurled beneath a clear blue sky?
 - Pink Floyd

What were we excited about? 

With 204 of the S&P 500 now reporting 68% (139) have beat earnings estimates BUT only 44% (90) have beaten on revenues.  It's yet another year of cost-cutting and share buy-backs to boost earnings per share with no actual growth in real earnings yet the market, overall, is up 35% from where it was last year on a 2.9% overall growth in EPS.  - THAT'S FRIGGIN' CRAZY!  


If we back out BAC, who had the crap fined out of them this Q, then the S&P earnigs are up a more respectable 4.9% but, on the other hand, that includes superstars like AAPL, who dropped $13Bn on the S&P by themselves, and it's very unlikely the rest of the S&P will bring up the curve.  In fact, Zacks is now estimating that overall earnings will be DOWN 0.9% for the quarter compared to last year and DOWN 4.6% from last quarter.  

SPY 5 MINUTENo wonder we are seeing the continued exodus of "smart money," who sell in volume into every rally we have.  What's getting scary (and keeping us bearish) is that now we aren't even making gains on weak volume.  Yesterday's move up was 100% due to AAPL, which gained over 8% on the day.  

Since AAPL is 15%+ of the Nasdaq, that 8% gain should have popped the Nasdaq 1.2% and the rally in AAPL suppliers should have lifted the index even more.  But it didn't.  The Nasdaq was only up 0.8%, so it would have been down 0.5% without AAPL's contribution and even further without the rally in suppliers and the sectors that support them.  

As I said to our Members yesterday ahead of the bell, Apple's gains are Samsung and others' lossses, NOT an indication of strength in the…
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Green Mountain: Q2′s Dog and Pony Show Reveals More Accounting Fluff

Swallowing pride is a lot harder than sipping a freshly brewed cup of Green Mountain Coffee – 20% hotter today. Here’s a post byJason Merriam on Seeking Alpha, who’s content to "gaze at the big ‘ol Green Mountain from a safe distance." - Ilene

While pride can be hard to swallow at times, panning a stock only to watch its share price skyrocket 20% above and beyond the previous 50% gain we didn’t think possible is downright humiliating. So, congratulations to all Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) longs! May the java be with you.

Humble pie aside, investors were clearly impressed by the earnings beat and remainder of 2011 guidance offered by management Tuesday.

We have been bearish on this company for quite awhile and admittedly wrong about the stock since it was at $40 a share.

Yet, we have to hand it to GMCR management for their keen ability to captivate shareholders with such bright optimism while slipping in a secondary offering only minutes within releasing Q2 earnings.


Again, we have to tip our hat to GMCR management. Now, they have a rich $9 billion market cap, their timing of a secondary, remarkably uncanny. Granted, it’s only about 5% of total current outstanding, but it’s a very shrewd maneuver to build one’s currency (much thanks to bulls). It’s one of the slickest capitalization maneuvers we’ve seen in quite a while.


If management is so optimistic, why have they sold almost 290,000 shares in the past 12 months?

More here: Green Mountain: Q2′s Dog and Pony Show Reveals More Accounting Fluff – Seeking Alpha.

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Goodnight Amazon: World’s Most Overhyped Retailer Misses Top and Bottom Line

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

All one can say is oops. That margin compression sure does suck:

  • Q4 EPS USD 0.91 vs. Exp. USD 0.88
  • Q4 net sales USD 12.95bln vs. Exp. USD 13.03bln
  • Net sales are expected to be between $9.1 billion and $9.9 billion, or to grow between 28% and 39% compared with first quarter 2010
  • Operating income is expected to be between $260 million and $385 million

We have yet to see snow being blamed for the After Hour stock collapse

Full release:, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced financial results for its fourth quarter ended December 31, 2010.

Operating cash flow increased 6% to $3.50 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $3.29billion for the trailing twelve months ended December 31, 2009. Free cash flow decreased 14% to $2.52 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $2.92 billion for the trailing twelve months ended December 31, 2009.

Common shares outstanding plus shares underlying stock-based awards totaled 465 million on December 31, 2010, compared with 461 million a year ago.

Net sales increased 36% to $12.95 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $9.52 billion in fourth quarter 2009. Excluding the $139 million unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales would have grown 37% compared with fourth quarter 2009.

Operating income was $474 million in the fourth quarter, compared with $476 million in fourth quarter 2009. The unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter on operating income was $18 million.

Net income increased 8% to $416 million in the fourth quarter, or $0.91 per diluted share, compared with net income of $384 million, or $0.85 per diluted share, in fourth quarter 2009.

"Thanks to our customers, we achieved two big milestones," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of "We had our first $10 billion quarter, and after selling millions of third-generation Kindles with the new Pearl e-ink display during the quarter, Kindle books have now overtaken paperback books as the most popular format on Last July we announced that Kindle books had passed hardcovers and predicted that Kindle would surpass paperbacks in the second quarter of this year, so this milestone has come even sooner than we expected – and it’s on top of continued growth in paperback sales."

Full Year 2010

Net sales increased 40% to…
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Courtesy of CULLEN ROCHE of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Another earnings season is right around the bend and it’s shaping up to be very similar to the last 6 that we’ve seen.  In short, cost cuts have created very lean balance sheets and corporations are leveraging up these lean balance sheets to generate respectable and “better than expected” bottom line growth.  The result is an environment that continues to be unappreciated by the majority of investors.

The largest single cost input for most corporations is labor.  During this recession we’ve experienced a near unprecedented decline in unit labor costs.  As I mentioned yesterday, this massive cost cut is causing extraordinary pain on Main Street, but is actually helping to generate healthy margins for Wall Street.  Although the  cost cutting appears to have troughed in the last few quarters labor costs remain very low by historical standards.   Rising input costs have started to put pressure on balance sheets, however, on the whole we should see fairly stable margins as long as unit labor costs remain low.

Revenues have been unspectacular in recent quarters, but low single digit domestic growth combined with double digit growth from Asia is helping to drive S&P 500 revenues per share in the right direction.  So, we’re seeing continued cost cuts and relatively good revenue growth.

What does that mean?  It means nice fat margin expansion.  Although margins are still off their all-time highs they are fast approaching those levels. I would expect to see some stagnation in margins in the coming quarters as revenues continue to tick higher and costs continue to move north, however, with margins at record highs we can expect to see continued profit expansion.

What does it all add up to?  It likely means we’re in for another quarter of “better than expected” earnings. The deeply negative sentiment and solid bottom line growth has created an investment environment that is ripe for outperformance. This is best reflected in my Expectation Ratio which has now forecast very strong earnings trends since Q2 2009. Based on the recent reading of 1.45 we can be quite confident that the state of corporate America remains quite strong.

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Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Pile of squashed tins on kitchen counter

This is a VERY interesting development in the corporate earnings environment.  From a Stifel Nicolaus report on Cisco this morning:

**Cisco’sKeyTakeaways. (1) Cisco reporting notable weaknessinthe Public/Gov’t vertical, in which the company cited weakness particularly in the U.S. with a rapid change (deceleration) in State/Local Gov’t spending dynamics. Total public vertical accounted for ~22% of Cisco’s total product orders; total global orders up only 6% yr/yr vs. +23% yr/yr in the prior quarter.  Within this, Cisco did report that it saw mid-teens/stable growth in the U.S. Federal vertical.

This quarter’s weakness was largely the result of declines in state & local government spending.  This highlights the budget woes occurring in many municipalities. In many ways this is eerily similar to what’s occurring across Europe as their states (or countries) on the periphery experience continued economic malaise. Meredith Whitney has previously predicted that the muni bond crisis is being entirely overlooked:

“The level of complacency around this issue is alarming. Most assume, as last week’s Buttonwood panel did, that the federal government will simply come to the rescue of the states without appreciating the immensity of the cumulative state-budget gaps. I expect multiple municipal defaults to trigger indiscriminate selling, which will prompt a federal response. Solutions attempted in piecemeal fashion, as we’ve seen thus far, would amount to constantly putting out recurring fires.

Rather than waiting for more federal intervention, states need to make their own hard decisions and not kick the can down the road. How will taxpayers from fiscally conservative states like Texas or Nebraska feel about bailing out threadbare Illinois or California? Let’s hope we never have to find out.”

Perhaps even more interesting in recent days is the action in the muni market, which has been priced for perfection:

[click on chart to enlarge]

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Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

If there has been one undeniably bullish trend in the last 18 months it has been the strong earnings picture.  I have given the sell side analysts a fairly hard time over the course of the last year, but the strength in earnings has shocked me and my estimates tend to be quite a bit tougher than the consensus.  I expected the slowdown in mid-year growth to hit the top line harder than it has, but the international diversity of U.S. firms has helped  maintain healthy revenue growth at a time when companies have been incredibly vigilant about cost cuts.  U.S. companies have masterfully weaved through this recession in an effort to protect their profits and the results have been impressive.  With 90% of the S&P reporting in the Q3 earnings season the numbers are very strong:

  • 72% of companies have topped EPS estimates.
  • 60% have topped revenue estimates
  • Just 19% missed EPS estimates.
  • Sales are up 9.8% year over year.
  • EPS growth is 32% year over yar

Of course, the cost cuts have come at a cost as millions of Americans remain out of work.  Thus far domestic revenues have not sustained a level that has resulted in a substantial pick-up in hiring.  But corporations have made up for the less than stellar top line growth by boosting margins.  Margins are currently approaching their 2007 peaks, but likely have some room for expansion. It will be interesting to see how QE2 and the impact of rising input costs influences this picture.  At first blush, the impact does not appear to be widespread, however, we’ll have a better understanding of the Q4 earnings picture in the coming months when pre-announcements begin.  For now, the margin story is intact.  At risk, of course, is the labor force in the case that margins begin to turn.  For now it looks like the combination of strong international sales and weak domestic sales will be enough to help labor markets slowly continue to heal.  In a fluid and low visibility environment, however, this could change given the numerous exogenous risks.

(Figure 1)

The revenue story has been better than expected, however, is far from v-shaped.  Revenues per share remain well off their all-time highs despite a strong rebound in bottom line growth.  Quarter over quarter revenues per…
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Phil's Favorites

The existential case for ditching Alexa and other AI


The existential case for ditching Alexa and other AI

Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr, CC BY-SA

Courtesy of Brendan Canavan, University of Huddersfield

Alexa’s creepy laugh is far from the most worrying thing about her. This is despite the fact that Amazon’s digital assistant – which allows users to access the internet and control personal organisation tools simply by speaking to the device – has been reported to spontaneously chuckle to herself. We shouldn’t be too concerned about he...

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Zero Hedge

Trader Shares "A Few Ideas For Avoiding A Friday Faceplant"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

From Bloomberg macro commentator, Richard Breslow

Don’t mistake this as a trade recommendation, but it is all right to do nothing. Trading when you believe you have an edge is when it is time to step in. If you are there, then go for it. But trading merely because things are moving around is a day-trading concept, not an investment thesis.

It’s important to match trading style, objectives and realistic liquidity assumptions to how you view volatility vs risk. They are very much not the same thing. Made even more so if you think the Fed equity put has been eliminated. It hasn&#...

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Insider Scoop

41 Biggest Movers From Yesterday

Courtesy of Benzinga.

  • Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NASDAQ: OMEX) shares climbed 118.42 percent to close at $8.30 on Thursday after the company disclosed positive Mexico Court Decision nullifying a previous denial of application for Don Diego project.
  • Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ: OMER) shares gained 35.31 percent to close at $15.75. The maker of a cataract surgery drug called Omidria realized a "big win" from Wednesday's release of the U.S. government spending bill, according to Stat News. Specifically, a policy included in the spending bill includes a pass-through exte... more from Insider

Chart School

Bitcoin Cycles Review

Courtesy of Read the Ticker. uses Bartel's logic to find dominant cycles in a time series.

Cycles are present in markets, as shown below the 22 and 40 day cycles on calendar days looks like the best fit. Therefore the chart below suggest we can expect a bitcoin low either now or in a few weeks.

Bitcoin has not been effected by the SP500/Dow sell off which is a very bullish sign, bitcoin may see safe haven money chasing price very soon, add to this the sister coin, litecoin, isgetting ready for wider use with the massive e-commerce payment market (litepay, litepal, atomic swamps, lightening network).

The bitcoin move is not over!


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U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Speaks With CNBC's "Power Lunch" Today

By VW Staff. Originally published at ValueWalk.

WHEN: Today, Thursday, March 22, 2018

WHERE: CNBC’s “Power Lunch”

Following is the unofficial transcript of a FIRST ON CNBC interview with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” (M-F 1PM – 3PM) today, Thursday, March 22nd. Following are links to video from the interview on

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Digital Currencies

Why accountants of the future will need to speak blockchain and cryptocurrency if they want your money


Why accountants of the future will need to speak blockchain and cryptocurrency if they want your money


Courtesy of Anwar Halari, The Open University

If you haven’t already heard of Bitcoin, you either haven’t been paying attention or you’re a time traveller who just touched down in 2018. Because by now, most of us will have heard of Bitcoin and some of us have even jumped on the bandwagon, investing in cryptocurrencies.

But despite its popularity, many people still don’t understand the technology that underlines it: blockchain. In...

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Members' Corner

Cambridge Analytica and the 2016 Election: What you need to know (updated)


"If you want to fundamentally reshape society, you first have to break it." ~ Christopher Wylie

[Interview: Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: 'We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles' – video]

"You’ve probably heard by now that Cambridge Analytica, which is backed by the borderline-psychotic Mercer family and was formerly chaired by Steve Bannon, had a decisive role in manipulating voters on a one-by-one basis – using their own personal data to push them toward voting ...

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How your brain is wired to just say 'yes' to opioids

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


How your brain is wired to just say ‘yes’ to opioids

A Philadelphia man, who struggles with opioid addiction, in 2017. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Courtesy of Paul R. Sanberg, University of South Florida and Samantha Portis, University of South Florida


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Mapping The Market

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

Via Jean-Luc

How propagandist beat science – they did it for the tobacco industry and now it's in favor of the energy companies:

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

The original tobacco strategy involved several lines of attack. One of these was to fund research that supported the industry and then publish only the results that fit the required narrative. “For instance, in 1954 the TIRC distributed a pamphlet entitled ‘A Scientific Perspective on the Cigarette Controversy’ to nearly 200,000 doctors, journalists, and policy-makers, in which they emphasized favorable research and questioned results supporting the contrary view,” say Weatherall and co, who call this approach biased production.

A second approach promoted independent research that happened to support ...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...

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NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!


We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.


EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.

To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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